52 by 52 7:20am, 31 May 2012
Challenge #40: The painter Bonnard said “Make little lies to tell a great truth”. Use that as your inspiration
— Chloe Dewe Mathews

Chloe adds...

“The idea of photographs being lies, or only half truths is an old one. It's always going to be a personal response, and we all edit the world to suit our vision of it. However if we accept that it can only make our image-making more intelligent and perhaps we can use it to our advantage? We all need to think about the truth we want to communicate and then work out ways of doing that.”


"My work is a hunt for moments of potency; when the clutter of day-to-day existence falls away to reveal something uncomplicated, something essential.

After a degree in Fine Art at Oxford University, I worked in the feature film industry for four years. Although it was an exciting world to be part of, I found myself questioning its extravagance. I wanted to work on something quieter, more economical, where I had room for spontaneity and intimacy with my subject.

In 2010 I traveled overland from China to Britain, hitchhiking and camping, in an attempt to experience and capture the cultural shift that takes place as one moves from Asia to Europe. During that time I shot projects on the Uighur minority in Western China, the returning waters of the Aral Sea, and the Caspian.
My work has been published in the Sunday Times Magazine, the Independent, Foto8, Vision China and Dazed and Confused magazine, and exhibited in London, Birmingham, Buenos Aires and Berlin."

View more of Chloe's work >

As well as being a good place to connect with other members and share your initial reactions, thoughts about how to 'solve it' and any links you think might help the group, this can also be a good place to include any old photos you have that fit the challenge. We're looking forward to hearing your thoughts this week.

— 52 by 52 team
bart1eby 6 years ago
Excellent challenge. Having lied an awful lot in my pictures for the last couple of weeks I'm looking forward to only lying a little for this one...
Mark W Russell Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (moderator) 6 years ago
Truth, Lies and Damn Lies

Oh this is timely, as I am currently re-reading Susan Sontag “On Photography”, in which there is a whole thread of an argument about “truth”. The first time I read this book (over 30 years ago), I was a student; when I was probably somewhat naïve and easily influenced.

Reading it again I am far more critical and thoughtful. It certainly is making me reflect on my practice and why I take photographs. I keep wondering what Sontag would think about the digital revolution and its impact on photography.

The phrase that stands out in Chloe Dewe Mathews ‘s blurb is “….to reveal something uncomplicated, something essential”. Her work strikes me as being in the photojournalist camp (if those sorts of labels interest you). I certainly will not be travelling to the type of “exotic” places much of her work has been taken in to take my shot, and my local stock-car track closed over ten years ago.

The question for me is I am interested in “truth” and its portrayal. I often think it is the viewer who projects these judgements on a picture. I think as always I will take a picture that is “honest to myself” or as near as I can achieve. If I manage that it will be a bonus.

Larking About 6 years ago
I think lying and street photography don't go hand in hand - as there are all these 'rules' where photos can't be set up, posed, staged or altered afterwards etc However something I am interested in trying for this brief is perhaps not showing or explaining the full context of what is going on - hence maybe implying something different or more ambiguous than the truth - which I think may qualify to me as a 'little lie' !!

p.s. Am weeks behind but hoping to catch up with this group soon
Julia M Cameron PRO 6 years ago
Very interesting brief with a psychological element. Reminded me of the Johari Window and I found this explanation applicable to photography... that may be pertinent.

Whether to bend the truth in what I photograph or in the there's a question?
Emma Georgiou PRO 6 years ago
'All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth' Richard Avedon
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 6 years ago

First attempts at Challenge 40...
The "lies" told by Photoshop.
Leripix 6 years ago
Most people thought this was about the little lad wanting to be like his big brother, whereas in truth he was the one who had been in for the piercing (in his ear). I don't think it tells any great truth though - that's going to be the really tricky part.
#47: "The real subject is yourself facing the world" - Thierry Girard

I am enjoying everyone's interpretations and approaches - and Chloe's work is an inspiration.
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